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Happy Mother's Day Mommy

I initially posted this last Mother's Day as a tribute to my mother.  I would like to wish all the mother's out there a beautiful Mother's Day.  

My mother was a compulsive/obsessive list maker whose house was IMMACULATE. People would come into our house and, upon seeing their reflection in the varnished hardwood floors would marvel and always comment ... "My God! Your floors are so shineeeeeee!"

She took great pride in her home. It was spotless and, as my husband once said, if she could have placed a velvet rope from the kitchen to the living room she would have ... because no one was allowed to "live" in the living room.

Being raised in a home that was kept like a museum was not always easy. My bedroom was a little girl's dream ... beautifully decorated and perfectly kept. Everything was in its place, spotlessly clean and picture perfect. I remember how uncomfortable my little girlfriends felt when they came to visit me. If we were in my room sitting on the bed and my mother happened to open the door they would immediately jump up and begin straightening out the bedspread because they knew my mother was really particular about things like that. It always embarrassed me.  

My mom lived according to a schedule and was always trying to beat the clock. She rose at 3:30 a.m., YES, you read correctly ... 3:30 a.m., every morning ... to clean. This fact of rising early every morning you would learn within the first 15 minutes of meeting my mother ... because she'd tell you.

Stranger: "Nice to meet you Debbie's mom."

Mom: "I get up at 3:30 every morning" she would state matter of fact.

Always astonished, people would ask WHY do you get up so early? She would respond ... "If I don't do it who else will?" I mean someones gotta get up at 3:30 every morning, right? I used to tell her all the time that she should have been a farmer. 

All of our appliances looked brand spanking new. That's because she cleaned them religiously. She buffed and scrubbed, washed and shined, the stove and all it's inner workings. The washer and dryer, same thing. Sparkling clean. Her windows were washed four times a year. ALL OF THEM, inside and out. Gleaming. The walls were washed with a scrub brush and Spic 'n Span. Add to this that my mother was a heavy smoker but our house NEVER, EVER smelled of cigarette. That is because the minute you were done smoking your cigarette the ashtray was immediately picked up, emptied, washed, dried, and placed back in its proper place.

She had very specific ways of cleaning. I once used the wrong broom to sweep the kitchen floor and she yelled at me "NOOOOOOO! Not that broom! That's the one I used to sweep outdoors and then I soak it in bleach!!!!!" She scared the shit outta me! JEEZ, how the hell was I supposed to know that I was using the outdoor broom that got soaked in bleach?!  To dust the pleated lampshades she would take a small painter's brush and carefully, methodically sweep each pleat. This same brush was used to dust her little monitos (chochkies or knick-knacks) ... little figurines that you couldn't always clean because they were small and had tiny crevices. 

My mother's kitchen cabinets were a beautiful sight. After I'd been married many years and I'd visit her I would love to open the cupboards and run my hands across them and admire, in amazement, their cleanliness. My cabinets are another topic altogether. You'd have to use a small amount of force to pry a glass loose from my gross, sticky cabinets.

Her refrigerator ... SPOTLESS. Never would you find a mayonnaise jar with mayonnaise all gunked up around the rim. EVER.

She had a quick mind. Very smart, though not formally educated, and she was VERY organized. She could have run a corporation easily with her attention to detail and efficiency. She was really amazing that way.

Growing up, I'm certain she hoped that I'd turn out just like her but I didn't. I didn't want to spend my entire life cleaning. I wasn't as organized as she was and I have always been a terrible procrastinator. This is not a good trait to have if you want to run an efficient household. Once, when I was a teenager I sarcastically asked her WHY I had to make my bed if I was only going to mess it up again when I went to bed. Her response? "Why do you wipe your ass if you're only gonna shit again." That was my mom.  She could be funny and sarcastic and impossible and thoughtful, and I miss her every single day.

I used to call her from work almost every day and when she answered the phone I would always say ... HI MARMEE! Just like the daughters in "Little Women." She would always laugh when I called her that. 

There are so many things I miss about her but what I miss the most is going shopping with her and having lunch after. My sister once remarked that shopping with mom was like shopping with a mouse on crack. She was always in a hurry. For a long while, after she'd passed away and I would see other mothers and daughters shopping I would get a huge lump in my throat because I knew that I would never, EVER, be able to go shopping with my mother again. Death is so heartbreakingly final. I will never, EVER, stop missing her.

I miss you so much mommy. I love you with all my heart and I always will ... till forever and forever ...


  1. What funny sweet memories. Adopting the response to making the bed-classic. Thanks for sharing that Deb.

  2. Awww Debbie - I would have loved to have known your mother....she sounds like a typical Mexican mom, always cleaning, never letting you live in the "living" room. I used to call my living room the "museum" cuz we couldn't even get near the edge of the carpet without getting smacked upside the head....oh did I mention this was in MY house after I got married and it was MY husband who wouldn't let us in there!?!?! HOT DAMN I paid for that crap, and I was damn well going to use it! I used to go in there and jump on the couches when he wasn't home!! LOL! Then when we separated and he moved out, I sold ALL OF IT just to piss him off more. :) To this day he hasn't forgiven me. Oh well. That's all. Love you girl!

  3. I always felt like one of her own. Growing up and living across the street from my Tia, she always offered pan dulce, a cup of fresh Yuban, (my favorite brand to this day)and while I was unemployed, a few dollars to "Put gas in your car mija." And who can forget her classic mouth watering Chile Colorado? Loving Mother, beautiful wife, what a Lady, Happy Mothers Day Tia! -Cinty Loo

  4. Wow, where do I start? I experienced all of the same things my big sister did growing up: sparkling floors, windows, and appliances. My friends were just as familiar with my mom's preferences as Debbie's. The thing I miss the most about my mom is how she always knew exactly what I needed even before I knew what I needed, and would provide it without my asking. Prayers when I was worried or struggling; a home cooked meal for comfort and consoling; fresh, clean sheets when I was sick and recovering. Like my big sister, I miss my mom terribly, miss her daily, and hate that I can't see her, or talk to her, or smell the Oil of Olay on her skin. Deb forgot to mention that everything in the house was not only clean, but also slippery from the Oil of Olay...many knick knacks were damaged as a result of slipping out of our hands!
    She was always and only motivated by love and her intentions were always and only good. I wish you all could have known her. She would have made you either the best cup of coffee you ever had or the most effective white russian you ever drank... they would make fire come out your nose!

  5. Your mom sounds very much how I use to be but I am too tired now!! My girls are just the opposite of me. Funny how that is. I know how you feel about missing your mom. Mine died in 1968 and I still miss her too.

  6. Hi Deb, Happy Mothers Day to you!!! I went to cvs to get David's mom a mothers day card and I called him and said I can't do it, you need to go get the card. Im alreday crying in the aisles! You never ever do stop missing. My mom died 5 days after mothers day 3 yrs. ago 5/18 and it seems just like yesterday. You cope better but the pain and missing never go away! xo


  8. Debbie,

    This was a wonderful tribute to your mom, who like all of us have our contradictions and yet can we ever forget them?

    What a contrast in the fact that your mom kept her house spotless and yet was a heavy smoker.

    I especially love this story you told: Once, when I was a teenager I sarcastically asked her WHY I had to make my bed if I was only going to mess it up again when I went to bed. Her response? "Why do you wipe your ass if you're only gonna shit again."

    What can you possibly say to counter that?

    The beautiful thing is that maybe there are things about your mom that you are NOT like, but there are things you'll always carry inside of you. For me, I can see where you get your sharp wit.

    Great story.


  9. DEBBIE! HAPPY BELATED MOM'S DAY! And, thank you for visiting! I barely have time for work and blogging and living! However, blogging has become such a wonderful way to find my creativity again, after so many years of being committed to go to school....I am trying to squeeze in some time for my illustrations and writing. Thank you for visiting Ruben and seeing my drawings! It is a latent talent of mine, but I still have time to have fun with it and perfect it.

    I must run off to work, but Debbie, it is so nice to see you AND when we are in L.A., it would sure be nice to meet up with you again when I see Marie.

    Take care today dearest and see you in June, I hope!!! Anita

  10. I three have alot of those same memories as my nina & auntie monique do . Sandy was my grandmother and what a grand mother she was !!!! Always made shure my face & nails were clean,and every single hair was in place....She would pull my hair back sooooo frigen tight for awhile there my own cousins thought i was chinesse.When i would spend the weeknites over the house i would wake up at 6ish to the loud sound of VACUMING !!!! she would just say "mija dont mind me iam just vacuming before u wake up !" HELLO iam up now!!! Man was she a clean freek !! shed take the glass out of ur hand to clean it before u even took a sip.and as soon as u would put it dwm shed claen the ring that hadnt even begain to form yet.But she knew it was be cont. iam at wrk.

  11. I know I'm a little late on the comments here but I remember your mom well, how could I not. She had a way of saying things that just stuck in your head. She was direct as could be but not with the intention of being hurtful, just needed to say what she was thinking. I've always loved your impressions of her, right on the nose. I know the feeling of missing those daily calls. I sometimes still get the urge to pick up the phone and call my mom and it's been about 12 years since she's been gone. I guess the tie between mother and daughter is such a strong one that not having them here with us is difficult. Here's to our Mom's and all they taught us.


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